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The World Health Organization's produces the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) and lists BPD under the name "Emotionally unstable personality disorder".The latest version of the document (ICD-10) lists the disorder in Chapter X which is reserved for "Disorders of adult personality and behaviour" and has the code F60.3.

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The version published in 1987 (DSM-III-R), referred to "distress about a pattern of repeated sexual conquests or other forms of nonparaphilic sexual addiction, involving a succession of people who exist only as things to be used." The DSM-IV-TR included a miscellaneous diagnosis called Sexual Disorders Not Otherwise Specified, stating : "distress about a pattern of repeated sexual relationships involving a succession of lovers who are experienced by the individual only as things to be used." (Other examples include: compulsive fixation on an unattainable partner, compulsive masturbation, compulsive love relationships, and compulsive sexuality in a relationship.) Darrel Regier, vice-chair of the DSM-5 task force, said that "[A]lthough 'hypersexuality' is a proposed new addition...[the phenomenon] was not at the point where we were ready to call it an addiction." The proposed diagnosis does not make the cut as an official diagnosis due to a lack of research into diagnostic criteria for compulsive sexual behavior, according to the American Psychiatric Association.

The American Psychiatric Association uses the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) to define and classify mental illnesses and in the DSM-IV version of the document, it lists borderline personality disorder (BPD) as an Axis II – Cluster B personality disorder with the code 301.83.

The DSM-5 dropped the multiaxial system, but BPD still retains the same numerical code of 301.83.

In clinical diagnostics, the term sexual dependence may also refer to a conceptual model that is used to assess people who report being unable to control their sexual urges, behaviors, or thoughts.

Related models of pathological sexual behavior include hypersexuality, erotomania, nymphomania, satyriasis, Don Juanism (or Don Juanitaism), and paraphilia-related disorders.

Clinicians, such as psychiatrists, sociologists, sexologists, and other specialists, have differing opinions on the classification and clinical diagnosis of sexual addiction.As a result, "sexual addiction" does not exist as a clinical entity in either the DSM or ICD medical classifications of diseases and medical disorders.Neuroscientists, pharmacologists, molecular biologists, and other researchers in related fields have identified a transcriptional and epigenetic model of drug and behavioral (including sexual) addiction pathophysiology.Diagnostic models, which use the pharmacological model of addiction (this model associates addiction with drug-related concepts, particularly physical dependence, drug withdrawal, and drug tolerance), do not currently include diagnostic criteria to identify sexual addictions in a clinical setting.In the alternative reward-reinforcement model of addiction, which uses neuropsychological concepts to characterize addictions, sexual addictions are identifiable and well-characterized.In humans, a dopamine dysregulation syndrome, characterized by drug-induced compulsive engagement in sexual activity or gambling, has also been observed in some individuals taking dopaminergic medications.